Ecuador Trip Report
March 8 – 21, 2008
Dear friends, brothers, and sisters in our Lord, Jesus Christ;
By the Grace of our Lord, it happened again that we journeyed into a mission trip to Colombia & another to Ecuador. During the first time we were there in 2007, our host, missionary Timothy Anderson, told us the necessity of two rooms for schools to be built in the Amazon Jungle. Personally, I didn’t know how that would happen because there was a sum of $6,000 for materials, material transportation, and tools needed for the project. In addition to that, there were framers needed to complete the construction. I presented this plan to my home church, Golgotha Pentecostal Romanian Church, after the first mission there. Sorin Puha, a deacon Golgotha Church, was very interested in the jungle project (being a very good framer too). The other members of the committee didn’t show as much interest at the time but when the Lord’s will is to accomplish a purpose, He will prepare all the things necessary.
Shortly after I presented this project pastor Cornel Ianchici, from Philadelphia Romania Pentecostal Church, visited our church one Sunday morning and preached a message about missionary work. During the message, he said “…maybe God needs a framer somewhere…” It was enough to understand that this is another man that God wants involved in the framing in the Amazon Jungle. Towards the end of the service, I approached him and I told him “You are the answer for the jungle project to be complete because God really needs framers in Ecuador.” After he spoke with his wife, he agreed to embark on the mission trip to complete the framing project and not only that. Another three men that voluntarily were willing to join us were George Ieremciuc & Stefan Piuian from Bethany Romanian Pentecostal Church and Dorel Sav from Golgotha Church (who was very anxious to come). God not only prepared the team but also the funds that were needed for the two schools. Adrian Oros, a friend of mine, had in his heart to help one school with $3,000 and Emanuel Romanian Church participated with an offer of $3000 for the second school. When things happen in the spiritual realm, they are fulfilled in the natural realm in a wonderful way that only God can prepare in harmony. I learned this through the course of years that the will of the Lord is the most important factor that we have to follow in our life and mission.
In order to reach Colombia, the country that I had in my heart for many years, I contacted brother Hames Munoz a resident of Colombia living in the United States. He prepared the arrangements for the mission to Bogota, Colombia. Even in a time of turmoil and rumors of wars, we had decided to go to Colombia in very bad circumstances when they were in the midst of being threatened with war from Venezuela and Ecuador.
Our team departed from Chicago on March 8, 2008 and arrived at night in Bogota, Colombia. Hames Munoz and his family waited for us at the airport and drove us to one of his apartment buildings in Bogota.
On Sunday, March 9, we began our mission as we arrived at Iglesia Cruzada Cristiana El Vergel at their 8am service. Pastor Fabio Alonzo P. welcomed us along with the entire congregation. He presented our team to the church and pastor Cornel Ianchici preached a message of peace. For the second service (which began at 10am with another group of members) I preached an evangelistic message ‘The obstacles to come to Christ’ (Luke 19:1-10). Everyone from our team had an opportunity to greet the church. After the service was over, the pastor took us for a tour and showed us the building and his vision and asked us to pray on the top of the roof for the city of Bogota. He urged us to ask God to unlock many hearts to receive Christ from this country where there is a lot of oppression and danger.
Around noon on the same day, we left and headed to another church, Iglesia Cristiana Cuadrangular which was located in a very poor and dangerous area. A lot of people were expecting us and welcomed us with joy and happiness. Pastor Cupertino Hernandez, the leader of this church and a man of prayer, asked us to greet the church. George Ieremciuc brought a message of hope. Many members rededicated their life to Jesus and an atmosphere of peace settled in their hearts which were troubled and in turmoil by the threat of war. Pastor Cornel Ianchici had a word from God during the prayer time that there won’t be a war in Colombia from Venezuela or Ecuador. God confirmed that message to me from Matthew 24:6-7 – “6. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 7. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places.” I received this insight passage through the Holy Spirit which reminded me during the prayer time to tell them not to panic and alarmed. In the afternoon, the same day, we visited the city of Bogota.
On Monday, March 10, we went to La Modelo Prison in Bogota to begin our prison mission but we were not granted access because of the country’s possible war status. I insisted and persisted but the sub director did not want us to grant us access without an approval from the Director of General Prisons of Colombia. And so we all decided, along with our hosts, to attempt in getting that approval. I arrived there and the secretary of Director of GPC was very interested in getting us the approval, after I presented a brochure with our previous mission trips in prisons to Brazil, Venezuela, Honduras, Kenya, Peru, Dominican Republic, and Guatemala to her. She understood our goal was to bring the gospel of Peace in the midst of turmoil and rumors of war and that we were not spies or other purposes. Having had a denial to access the prison at first discouraged our team but I did not want to give up so easily.
On Tuesday, March 11, I went back boldly by faith to the General Director and requested that his secretary, who already had the information, pass it to the Director. The Director didn’t rush to sign the approval and questioned her why she wanted to help us so eagerly. She told him that we brought 248 bibles that we wished to pass to the inmates of the prison. Getting back to the team members without the signed approval discouraged them even more. In the afternoon, the whole team went and purchased goods for poor people and brought them to the church Christiana Cuadrangular for those members to benefit. On that night, I held a training seminar for ‘Equipping volunteers for prison ministry.’ We had an attendance of about 35 church members and they received a certificate of completion from Chaplain for Christ International. Besides that, the other members of the team brought goods to the poor families of the church and visited them. Stefan Piuian was so touched by a family condition that he broke into tears and decided to support his family with $100 monthly for at least a year. The pastor and the members were greatly moved by the awesome presence of the Lord that night. The pastor testified that he had a dream in December of 2007. The Lord showed him that a team would come from far away and will be a blessing for the church. So the fulfillment of that dream encouraged him and the church.
On Wednesday, March 12, I prayed fervently and asked the Lord to help us to fulfill our mission goal in Colombia prisons. The Lord showed me that he will grant access to the prison. I saw myself entering in with the bible in my raised hand, but because the gift of the Spirit does not operate so often in my ministry, I did not understand the vision’s certainty. I told one of our team members and he replied that maybe it’s from my zeal or fervor but it was from God because every communication that is from God is fulfilled before our eyes in the natural realm. I went back to the General Director and the secretary told me to wait for her call. We waited all day impatiently until some members got so stressed that some of them wanted to return to Chicago and some wanted to continue the mission in Ecuador. There was a lot of tension but at night we went to another church with the same name (Iglesia Cristiana Cuadrangular) to minister. This church was also in a very poor and dangerous area. Pastor DeAlfonso Lopez welcomed us and pastor Cornel Ianchici preached a message. We prayed for the sick at the end of the service. Sorin Puha was able to communicate with the taxi driver in Italian and that driver became very friendly to our team.
On Thursday, March 13, we were finally granted access to La Modelo Prison, one of the biggest prisons in Colombia. We were able to minister in two courtyards to many inmates. The response was great. Many lives receive the message of peace and hope from the Word of God. Prayers of repentance and rededication to Jesus Christ were the response to the Gospel message, preached by our team members. About 200 bibles were distributed to the inmates. Even though we didn’t completely believe about having access granted to the prison, God demonstrated that the vision was from Him.
On Friday, March 14, our team departed early in the morning from Colombia to Ecuador and arrived at about noon in Quito, Ecuador. Our host, Timothy Anderson, with one of his friends from Teen Challenge waited for us and welcomed us. He drove us to the hotel where we lodged. In the afternoon, we ministered to Teen Challenge Chapel from Quito. I had the privilege to meet Emil Dobrin, a Romanian who came to Quito many years ago for work purposes. He was very kind and even helped us with $140 for the jungle. We also met Radu Mihail, a Romanian businessman in Ecuador, who also represents Romania in Ecuador.
On Saturday, March 15, we ministered to Quito Prison, Jail #3 and CDP Jail. At these prisons we met Romanian inmates that were caught smuggling drugs. Some of them are sentenced for many years. (Florin Daneasa, Cristian Bodea, Gutu Nicolae, Sorin Curca, Mircea Romocea, Octavian Chis, Ileana Horodam and Camelia from Carcel de Muheres – Inca, Avram Potrea and Adrian Petrache from Preliberty). We brought them a message of hope and showed them the way to fulfill their purpose for life by the gospel of Jesus Christ; the way, the truth, and the life. At night, we preached and prayed at Jesus Never Fails Church, from 8pm – midnight.
On Sunday, March 16, Emil Dobrin and I went to a Baptist Church in Quito. The pastor gave me the opportunity to greet the church and informed the church that we have to continue Jesus’ agenda “…to preach good news to the poor… to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Luke 4:18-19). Here I met a missionary from Indiana who is working as a nurse in a Christian hospital and is doing prison ministry also. The other part of our team ministered to the church Jesus Never Fails. In the afternoon, we left and headed towards the jungle and arrived around 8pm that evening and the city Puyo, Ecuador.
On Monday, March 17, we flew to the jungle village called Kuakash, Ecuador where our plan to build those two school buildings began. As evidence of “…all that Jesus began to do and to teach” (Acts 1:1) and “As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.” (James 2:26), we began fulfilling God’s will with the construction project. Since our main purpose was not only to build temporary homes but save and rebuild lives for eternity. At night we had an evangelistic service in the jungle and six people from the Indian community received Christ as their personal Saviour and Lord. On the first night in the jungle was very interesting.
On Tuesday, March 18, we continued with the project of buildings and in the afternoon we finished because everything was made by wood with walls of boards. It was easy to put together with six hard working men from Chicago and two (father and son) from New York. At night we have an evangelism service, and to make sure that everyone would come, I walked into the jungle and visited every hut and invited all of them. God moved that night and many were touched by God’s sweet presence. In the jungle there was joyful noise of praises, worship, and fervent prayer for the Holy Spirit to fill their lives. Despite their hard lifestyle we encouraged them to seek God’s presence everyday and He will fulfill their needs according to His riches. On that night, eight people decided to be baptized in the water. I saw a testimony of a man that I met among the Indians, whose face appeared to have a very furious expression, but when the Gospel was preached and he received it, I witnessed the Holy Spirit’s power transforming his life which manifested on his face through a joyful, gleaming, shining, and radiating light. “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 3:18).
On Wednesday, March 19, I had the opportunity together with Timothy Anderson and George Ieremciuc to baptize a man which experienced the power of transformation together with his wife in a river of the jungle. Eight people received the baptism in water altogether. “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” (Matthew 28:19-20). After the baptism ceremony, we flew about 120 miles back to Puyo, Ecuador and drove 500 miles to Quito, Ecuador.
On Thursday, March 20, we had a free day to visit Quito and the earth’s equator.
On Friday, March 21, we departed from Quito to arrive in Chicago at night the same day (before Easter).
Greetings from brothers and friends from Ecuador with (2 Corinthians 14-17) –
“14. But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. 15. For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; 16. to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life And who is adequate for these things? 17. For we are not like many, peddling the word of God, but as from sincerity, but as from God, we speak in Christ in the sight of God.” All the Glory and all the Praise be to God only who led us and helped us to fulfill His purpose. Please keep in your prayers the men and women who are sentenced for many years in the Quito Prison, CDP Jail, and Colombia Prisons. Pray also for the jungle Indians that God will keep them strong in faith.
Rev. Constantin Lupancu
Blessed Hope International Mission